Maxi Gotz Claims Nurburgring Pole For HTP Mercedes

HTP Mercedes - Photo Credit: VIMAGES/Fabre
HTP Mercedes - Photo Credit: VIMAGES/Fabre

Spa 24 Hours winners Maxi Gotz, Maxi Buhk and Bernd Schneider will start the Blancpain Endurance Series finale at the Nurburgring from pole position in their HTP Motorsport Mercedes after Gotz posted the fastest time in qualifying.

Gotz, who along with Buhk tested for the Mercedes DTM squad this week, posted his pole-winning time of 1m54.852s in the second segment of qualifying. Buhk goes into the Nurburgring 1000 race two points off the Pro Cup lead thanks to both his Spa success and a fifth place he achieved at Paul Ricard.

Monza pole-sitter Alessandro Pier Guidi came closest to matching Gotz in his Esta Motorsport Ferrari during the third part of qualifying, but the Italian was still half a second adrift in the car he shares with compatriot Matteo Bobbi and Russian Alexander Skyrabin. He edged out the ART Grand Prix McLaren piloted by Andy Soucek – co-driven by Mike Parisy and Antoine Leclerc – by 0.056s to top the third session and claim a front row spot.

It will be another Russian-entered Ferrari that lines up directly behind the Esta car, with Kirill Ladygin placing his Pro-Am SMP Racing 458 he shares with brother Anton Ladygin and Victor Shaitar in fourth. The team’s Pro car driven by Formula Renault 3.5 veterans Mikhail Aleshin and Daniil Move and one-time Minardi tester Sergey Zlobin will start fifth.

The Marc VDS Racing trio of Maxime Martin, Bas Leinders and Yelmer Buurman, who sit fourth in the Pro Cup standings and three points off the lead, will start the race from sixth on the grid in their BMW courtesy of the last-mentioned’s Q2 time.

That is one place ahead of rival Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers Frank Stippler and Christopher Mies. The duo sit third in the standings, one point ahead of the Marc VDS crew and tied with Buhk, and are joined this weekend by Rene Rast (after a swap from the sister car with Edward Sandstrom) who recorded the car’s qualifying time.

British drivers Rob Bell, Peter Dumbreck and Jann Mardenborough placed their Gulf Racing McLaren, JRM Nissan and RJN Nissan eighth, ninth and tenth on the grid respectively. GT Academy ace Mardenborough – also racing in F3 at the Nurburgring this weekend – shares his car with Pro-Am title challenger Alex Buncombe.